Archive for February, 2012

Wisconsin State Assembly Districts – How Many Are Waiting for Long-Term Supports?

See the attached pdf document for a listing of all 99 Wisconsin state Assembly districts and the number of children and adults with disabilities waiting and being supported in long-term care waivers including CLTS, Family Care and IRIS. According to DHS, the statewide adult waiting list for long-term supports was 8,237 individuals as of November 2011; however the wait list has likely grown significantly since the caps on Family Care and IRIS were put in place in July. DHS also reports 2,244 children waiting for long-term supports statewide. Click this link to view the list of districts: LTC Profiles 11-2011

DRW testifies against Special Needs Vouchers at Senate Education Committee hearing

DRW Managing Attorney Jeff Spitzer-Resnick and Advocacy Specialist Sally Flaschberger provided separate testimony against SB 486 at the Feb. 28th Senate Education Committee hearing. Here is a copy of DRW’s testimony: testimony-SB486.


MADISON—The Department of Health Services is seeking input from consumers, community partners, integrated health systems, and providers on its Long Term Care Sustainability Initiatives.
“We have worked extensively with consumers, advocates and partners to develop reforms that meet the needs of those individuals we serve and ensure Wisconsin’s long term care programs are sustainable,” said Department of Health Services Secretary Dennis G. Smith. “We are taking our proposals on the road to get additional feedback from people around the state.”
Individuals who are interested in speaking will have up to five minutes to share their ideas at the forums. Those who would like to share their ideas and do not wish to speak are encouraged to submit their written feedback at the meeting or through the Department’s online survey at This link also includes background information on the proposals.
Green Bay
Thursday, March 8, 2012
3:00 – 6:00 P.M. The Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center
1315 Lime Kiln Road
Multi-Purpose Room
Green Bay, WI 54311
La Crosse
Friday, March 9, 2012
2:00 – 5:00 P.M. UW-La Crosse
1725 State Street
Cartwright Center, Room 339
La Crosse, WI 54601
Free Parking: Lot C-2
Monday, March 12, 2012
2:00 – 5:00 P.M. Goodman Community Center
149 Waubesa Street
Evjue Room D
Madison, WI 53704
Additional town hall meetings will be scheduled in Milwaukee and Wausau. Details will be announced once they are confirmed.
** People needing special accommodations to attend or participate in the meeting should notify the Department of Health Services at 608-266-9622 (TTY 888-701-1250) by the day prior to the event.

Northeast Wisconsin Groups Collect Signatures to Send to Assembly about Family Care Expansion

Northeast Wisconsin disability and aging advocates, along with county representatives and concerned community organizations are circulating a letter for signature – sharing their concerns about the stall of a bill to remove the caps on Family Care and other long-term care programs. Advocates hope to secure as many Northeast Wisconsin organizations to sign on to this letter as possible to send a clear message to the Assembly about the state’s plans for long-term care and expansion of Family Care and IRIS in Northeast Wisconsin!

This letter tells the Wisconsin Assembly about the concerns many people in the Northeast have about the state’s future plans for long-term care for people with disabilities and frail elderly in the region. If your organization agrees with the below/attached statement, please send your organization name to to be added to the letter – no later than 5 PM ON WED. FEB. 22.

Read the letter here:

Letter from NE Wisconsin Counties – Family Care Expansion

Disability Groups Continue to Oppose Special Needs Voucher bills

As the legislative session winds down, there is a renewed legislative push to pass special needs vouchers bills. DRW, joined by the Board on People with Developmental Disabilities (BPDD), continue to oppose these bills. You can read more information about the bills; why DRW and BPDD oppose them; and how to take action on them here: ALERT! SPECIAL NEEDS VOUCHERS


This report highlights a variety of DRW’s advocacy activities both at the individual and systems level throughout the state. It also includes a tribute to former Executive Director Lynn Breedlove, who retired from DRW in January, 2012 after 31 years.

Click here to download the report.

DRW files Petition for Review en banc in MPS Class Action

DRW filed a Petition for Review en banc asking the full 7th Circuit to review the 3 judge panel’s decision which overturned the district court’s rulings in its long standing class action against Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS). DRW calls on DPI and MPS to continue to implement the settlement in the case as the filing of the Petition for Review en banc automatically stays the 3 judge panel’s decision. You can read the full petition here:

Petition for Rehearing en banc

DRW joins disability groups with testimony on Reading and Educator Effectiveness bills

DRW submitted joint testimony with the Board on People with Developmental Disabilities and Wisconsin FACETS on AB 558 and SB 461, which grew out of the Read to Lead and Educator Effectiveness Task Forces. You can read the testimony here:
Disability Agency Comments on AB 558 SB 461 Read to Lead Council – Literacy Grants

Survival Coalition submits extensive comments to DPI to improve ESEA waiver request

The Survival Coalition of Wisconsin Disability Organizations, of which DRW is a member, and DRW Executive Director Tom Masseau is one of the co-chairs, sent an extensive letter with comments to the Dept. of Public Instruction about its draft waiver request to the US Dept. of Education seeking to waive the requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA, formerly known as No Child Left Behind). While DRW and Survival generally support DPI’s effort to receive a waiver from the onerous provisions currently in federal law, this letter provides many ways to improve the waiver request and obtain better educational results and better accountability for students with disabilities in Wisconsin. You can read the full letter here: SC Letter to DPI – ESEA waiver comments.

Lift the Caps Hearing FINALLY Scheduled! Testify or Call Your Legislator – Or Both! Lift the Caps Call in Days This Week!

Thank you to Senator Vukmir for scheduling a hearing (Senate Bill 380) to Lift the Caps on Family Care/IRIS!
Public testimony by people who use Family Care and IRIS or
those who are waiting for long-term supports is welcome at this hearing!
Come to Madison on Thursday, Feb. 9th and share your story at the hearing
11 AM – Room 201 Southeast.
Remember Lift the Caps Call-In Days This Week!
Call the AARP Legislative Hotline ANYTIME FROM FEB. 7,8,9:
(The Assembly Committee on Aging and Long-term Care must also start
to move their version of the bill (Assembly Bill 477)!
Let Rep. Knodl know that he should move this bill now!
Telephone: (608) 266-3796 Or (888) 529-0024;

If you have called before, call again! If you haven’t called, NOW IS THE TIME! It is easy!!!
Let’s Create a Drumbeat for People with Disabilities in Wisconsin!
Our friends at AARP are letting us use their simple legislative hotline. When you call this number, you will be greeted by AARP and then asked to type in your zip code. (The call is not recorded or used in any other manner.) The phone service will then dial your representative or senator and connect you directly with that office!
Call the AARP Legislative Hotline ANYTIME FROM FEB. 7,8,9:
(You do not have to use this hotline, you can always call your rep directly on your own)
Why is this important?:
The bills in the Capitol right now to lift the caps on Family Care/IRIS and expand the programs statewide are STALLED and may DIE in committee if legislators do not take action in the next couple weeks. The caps will not be lifted unless these bills pass! These bills need to move now! More than 8000 people statewide are waiting for critical daily supports!
What you can say:
People with disabilities and seniors in Wisconsin need long-term supports to live their lives! Family Care and IRIS are important programs! It is time to lift the caps and let people who live in counties without these programs have access to these supports ! Move these bills (Assembly Bill 477 and Senate Bill 380) now!
Need more information?: